Question: When did tan skin become the “in” thing? Can you pin a date or time period on it? Chinese women do everything they can to cover their skin when walking outside; most American women do everything they can to uncover their skin while in the sun. True, I think most of us will agree when I say we love the sun. I haven’t seen much of it lately (thanks a lot, Utah), but I’m confident it will show its pretty little face sometime soon. But with that happy sun, comes a little “Debby-Downer.” I’ll secretly admit to you that I’m always a little depressed when I read the medical reports my mom sends me about how detrimental the sun is to my skin. Argh. I’m not sure why I keep reading those if they just strike fear in my heart about cancerous moles the size of my head. However, in this instance, I will admit defeat and say, “Mom, you are right.”
As great as it feels to get that initial “burn” which we hope turns into a tan, you’re not doing your skin any favors. Sure, it may clear up acne for a bit, or allow you to wear that darling pair of shorts you bought last summer on clearance, but is it worth it later on when the wrinkles and age spots start to appear? Who wants to risk skin cancer, raise your hand? No, thanks. I’m a little more passionate about this topic than I use to be – I’m fair-skinned, blonde and turn into one big freckle during the summer months. However, I’m starting to see the effects of my sun-negligence from my teen and college years: wrinkles, old-looking skin, sunspots … I sound like my mom. But it’s true!
With all the negative aspects, here are 10 positive ways to work with the sun, not against it:
1. Try avoiding the high afternoon hours when the sun is strongest. These hours usually range between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Do spend short amounts of time in the sun in the morning hours and late afternoon hours – Vitamin D is your best defense against those winter blues, among other things.
2. Hats are very in style right now. You can pick up a cute Fedora for a few dollars and wear that while running errands or while at your son’s soccer game. Two positives to this: it covers up your bad hair day and it protects that beautiful face of yours!
3. If you are dying to get that bronzed look, try a fake tanning lotion, rather than hurting your skin. (I’m blowing my cover by admitting this, but it’s worth telling you - my favorite tanning lotion is Au Courant. My sisters and I have tried a couple different types, and this is by far our favorite. Google it.)
4. Please take extra caution on overcast days. I have two horror stories of getting burned to a crisp because I thought the sun didn’t shine when it is overcast. I was “painfully” wrong.
5. If you have a family trip planned for Hawaii, or some other place where you’ll be out in the sun a lot, make sure you get some sun before you go. Your Snow White skin will be shocked if all of a sudden you’re exposing it to July rays in Hawaii. What is the Boy Scout motto? Be prepared.
6. I’m not much of a sunglasses wearer, but sunglasses are great for protecting your eyes and the sensitive skin around those baby blues.
7. Don’t go tanning. I’ll say it again: don’t go tanning. I think the only time I might suggest tanning is when you’re trying to prep your skin for your Hawaii trip. (See tip #5.) But other than that, my opinion of tanning is if you want to ruin your skin, by all means, go tanning.
8. Obviously, wear sunscreen if you go to the pool or are out boating. That’s another no-brainer. You could also take a swimsuit cover-up and slip it on when you’re not swimming.
9. Find a face moisturizer with an SPF factor of at least 15. Apply daily, please.
10. If you burn easily, carry a non-oil based sunscreen and apply it throughout the day if you’re going to be outside a lot.
The sun is our friend – don’t be paranoid or afraid to go out and play in it. Just be wise and prepared, and you’ll love every minute this summer!
Ashley Jones practices public relations for Deseret Book. She loves writing, emailing her missionary sister, and making/ eating home-made popcorn.
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